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Connecticut Casino Sees Sharp Revenue Decline After Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene was one of the worst hurricanes the East Coast has experienced in a long time, and when Mother Nature comes calling, it usually means trouble for casinos in the area. Gaming facilities up and down the East Coast were closed due to Irene last month.

Atlantic City, the gaming capital of the Northeast, was hit the hardest by the effects of the hurricane. In all of its years of existence, the entire AC casino industry had only closed as a group twice before. Hurricane Irene provided the third time, and what made it worse was the hurricane blew through on a weekend.

The loss of weekend revenue in AC cost casinos dearly. Total revenue dropped by almost twenty percent in the month of August at casinos in Atlantic City. It was revealed on Thursday that at least one Connecticut casino suffered a similar fate. Mohegan Sun reported that revenue dropped 10.6% in August, from $67 million in August of 2010, to $59.9 million this year.

Irene did not directly cause the revenue decline, but Jeffrey Hartmann, the President and CEO of Mohegan Sun asserts that many Connecticut residents lost power during the hurricane, and that kept them from leaving their homes. Hartmann claims a similar situation occurred earlier this year when revenue dropped due to severe snowstorms in the state.

Another possible reason for the revenue loss is the growing competition that Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods is seeing in the Northeast. Maryland, Maine, Delaware, and New York have all added new gaming facilities in recent years. Pennsylvania, however, has become the biggest threat to both Connecticut and New Jersey.

Pennsylvania lawmakers legalized table games early last year, and by the summer, the table games were operational at many of the casinos. Analysts predict that with the addition of games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat, that Pennsylvania will pass New Jersey as the most profitable casino industry in the Northeast by the end of 2012.

Another state on the East Coast, Florida, could end up stealing business from all the Northeast states. Already considered to be one of the top tourist destinations in the US, Florida lawmakers are expected to debate by the end of the year whether or not to legalize full-scale casino gambling.

If that occurs, global gaming company giants such as Las Vegas Sands and Genting are prepared to jump on the opportunity to develop destination casino resorts in the Sunshine State.

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